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2016 Cannes Critics’ Panel Day 10: Refn Takes Fashionable Approach to “The Neon Demon”

Prior to hitting the Cannes comp with his Best Director prize winning Drive (2011) and the much disliked Only God Forgives (2013), this Danish-American had a healthy cult following and filmography of seven films that began with 1996’s Pusher. His third provoking trip on the Croisette is once again, eliciting some strong reactions from the populous supplying a bevy of colorful commentary such as Eric Kohn’s take: “This grotesque, hyperstylized treatise on the fashion industry recaptures some of the zany images and B-movie abstractions of Refn’s crossover effort, “Drive,” though it never quite gels on the same level of inspiration. But, sure, the brand is warranted — elegant, sensual, and blood drenched, this is a genuine NWR film on every level.”

The Neon Demon stars Elle Fanning with supporting perfs from Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Bella Heathcoate, Desmond Harrington and Karl Glusman from Gaspar Noé’s Love, our Nicholas Bell claims that “femininity isn’t weakness when wielded as a powerful tool—weakness is simply weakness, and perhaps more evident than in any of his previous films, within the confines of this subculture, life is a one dimensional merry-go-round of survival of the fittest.” 

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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